Russia has mined a massive hydroelectric dam in southern Ukraine in a plot to unleash a devastating flood, officials in Kiev have warned.
Moscow’s “nuclear blackmail” had failed and the Kremlin now resorted to new scaremongering, the head of Ukraine’s presidential office Andriy Yermak said last night.
“Ukraine will not succumb to peace by force,” he added. “They won’t break us. We’ll hit back even harder.’
His comments came after President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned “Russian terrorists” for placing explosives along the barrier at the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant in the occupied Kherson region, which aims to retake Ukraine.
Russian soldiers patrol the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station, Kherson Oblast, amid ongoing Russian military action in Ukraine
The Kakhovka Dam, which was taken by Russia at the start of the war, forms one of the last remaining routes across the Dnipro River in the region
President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned ‘Russian terrorists’ for laying explosives along the barrier of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant in the occupied Kherson region, which wants to recapture Ukraine
The Kakhovka Dam, which was taken by Russia at the start of the war, is one of the last remaining routes across the Dnipro River in the region.
Kherson has been the scene of fierce fighting over the past week as Ukrainian forces seek to recapture the eponymous regional capital, an important strategic port on the Black Sea.
Kiev hopes to recapture the city before winter sets in.
In a desperate attempt to hold the area, Russia ordered 2,000 conscripts to be sent to the area yesterday.
The Nova Kakhovka Dam has been hit by Ukrainian missiles in the past because there is a road on it used to resupply Putin’s troops, but they did not destroy it
Russia plans to blow up hydroelectric dam at Nova Kakhovka to flood Kherson and cover their retreat from the city, experts have warned
Sergei Surovikin, Putin’s new commander in Ukraine, has spoken of a Ukrainian attack on the dam – which analysts have concluded is laying the groundwork for a ‘false flag’ operation
Zelensky said: “Everyone in the world must act forcefully and quickly to prevent another Russian terrorist attack.
Destroying the dam would be a major disaster.
“If the dam is destroyed, the North Crimean Canal will simply disappear.” The canal supplies the illegally occupied Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea with 85 percent of its water supply.
Mykhailo Podolyak, another top aide to Zelensky, said Moscow’s move was an attempt to stop Ukraine’s advance through the Kherson region.
‘Russia is preparing a man-made catastrophe through floods’ [this] territory to stop Ukraine’s counter-offensive and block their own retreat,” he wrote on Twitter.
Vladimir Putin’s puppet officials began “evacuating” civilians from the area this week, claiming the number could reach 60,000 in a move Kiev has described as forced deportations.
A report from the Institute for the Study of War, a US think tank, said last night that Russia “probably continued to prepare a false flag attack” on the Kakhovka hydroelectric plant.
It added that Moscow created the “information conditions” for Russian troops to blow up the dam after withdrawing from western Kherson.
The ISW suggested that Russia then accuse Ukraine of flooding the river and surrounding settlements.
The Russian tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda, a Kremlin spokesperson, said it would be difficult to survive “such a grandiose water apocalypse.”
In a self-proclaimed ‘exclusive investigation’ three-day major flood warning, the paper said: ‘In a dam explosion, a five-meter wave could [16ft] high the Dnipro will descend at a speed of 25 km/h [15mph].
“It would wash away any coastal villages it encountered along the way. This tsunami would be in Kherson in two hours.’
The propaganda campaign underscores Russia’s desperation to hold onto the only regional capital it successfully occupied during its eight-month invasion.
Retaking Kherson would be a significant morale boost for Ukrainians, who have faced a barrage of deadly attacks by Iranian “suicide” drones over the past two weeks.
Ukraine’s Air Force said yesterday it shot down 85 percent of drones fired by Russia, but their deployment is forcing Kiev to use up vital air defense supplies.